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Nanny Interview Questions

Parents, 4nannies.com provides this list of sample nanny interview questions to help you organize your telephone interview with prospective nannies. We suggest that you review the questions, personalize or edit for your family's needs, and then keep a record of answers on a candidate basis.

The  4nannies.com website has an FAQ on how to recruit a nanny that includes links to other resources families will find helpful in organizing the nanny recruitment effort.

General Nanny Interview Questions

  • Why are you interested in this job? Look for thoughtful answers, not someone who doesn't have a better idea!
  • What appeals to you about taking care of children in their own home (vs. a day care center or your home)?
  • What do you think the difference is between a babysitter and a nanny?
  • Describe your last childcare experience and why it ended.
  • What was your worst experience in childcare and how did you resolve it?
  • How were you disciplined as a child? What would you do differently with your own children?
  • What do you find to be the most challenging (or interesting) part of working with children?
  • Can you summarize your child rearing philosophy?
  • What is your view on nutrition for children?
  • What is your general philosophy on etiquette for children?
  • What is your basic philosophy on discipline?
  • What is your opinion on spanking?
  • How do you feel about imaginative play that includes the use of toy guns as props?
  • What are your thoughts about masturbation? How would you handle it if you noticed that my (insert age) was masturbating?
  • What would you do if my child bit another child? What would you do if my child bit you?
  • What would you do if my child hit or hurt another child? What would you do if my child hit or hurt you?
  • How would you handle it if my child lied to you?
  • What are your thoughts on sunscreen and protection from the sun for children?
  • Can you tell me a time when you felt like you lost motivation in a job?
  • Can you tell me about the most difficult child/family/parent you worked with?
  • Have you ever had to handle an emergency? If so, what happened and what action did you take?
  • What additional household responsibilities are you comfortable taking on as a nanny? i.e. meal prep, laundry, cleaning, setting up appointments, pet care, etc.
  • Tell me about your childhood and your current relationship with your family.
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What television shows do you enjoy watching?
  • How do you think your closest friends would describe you and your personality?
  • How are you at voicing your concerns about unexpected issues that may arise? Are you comfortable bringing up issues with the parents?
  • How have you responded when a former boss has brought up unexpected issues with you?
  • Can you give me some examples of unexpected issues that have come up in your previous jobs and how you and your former boss(es) worked things out?
  • How would you feel if I brought up an issue with the children and I felt very strongly that I wanted it handled a certain way? In other words, if I couldn't see a way to compromise on an issue, do you think you could work with that?
  • Would you be willing to sign a confidentiality clause? What does confidentiality mean to you?
  • If you have guns in your household ask - Are you comfortable working in a household with guns? Do you know gun safety and are you able to shoot? If not, do you want to learn?
  • If you work at home, ask - Have you ever worked for parents who work at home? Are you comfortable with that? What pros and cons do you see working for WAH parents?
  • Confirm your non-negotiables. Do you have a current driver's license? Are you willing to travel with our family? Are you able to do occasional overnights with notice?

Core Competencies

  • Verify current CPR and Infant/Child First Aid certifications
  • Crib safety, diapering, and bottle feeding if applicable.
  • Address safety concerns such as car seat installation (how and where) and helmet use (scooters, bikes, skiing, etc.)
  • Nutrition guidelines specific to your child and age. For example, no tree nut products or dairy products in the first year, formula or breast milk through age one, care with raisins, grapes, and cut food to avoid choking hazzards.
  • Familiar with 911 or similar emergency aids. Communication skills adequate to work with emergency personnel.

For children from birth to 2 years, consider the following questions:

  • How do you handle a crying baby? How do you feel when dealing with a crying baby?
  • What do you see as your primary responsibility to a child this age?
  • What activities would you engage in with a child this age?
  • How long do you think a baby should be left to cry?
  • How long do you think a newborn should be left before being fed?
  • How long do you think a newborn should be held?
  • What about rocking to sleep?
  • What methods do you like to use to help a baby learn to sleep through the night?
  • Do you know baby massage? baby sign?
  • How would you handle a temper tantrum in a grocery store? In our home?
  • What is your philosophy on letting children explore their surroundings?
  • How have you communicated information about the child's day to day activities to your employers in the past?
     Nanny Daily Log

For 2 to 3 year olds, consider the following questions:

  • How would you handle a temper tantrum in a grocery store? In our home?
  • How do you feel toilet training should be approached?
  • What role should outdoor play and interaction with other toddlers have in a child’s day?
  • What types of educational activities would you engage a child this age in?
  • What indoor activities would you engage a child this age in?
  • What types of meals and snacks do you offer to a child this age?

For 3-5 year olds, consider the following questions:

  • What methods of limit setting or discipline do you find effective for this age?
  • What television shows do you feel are appropriate for this age child?
  • Are you willing to supervise play time with other children in our home and/or take our child to gymnastics/activity groups which may or may not require your active participation?
  • During the hours my children are in school, what do you consider your role and responsibilities to be? (Be prepared to define YOUR expectations of her role and responsibilities. It is reasonable to request other domestic duties such as laundry, prepping the dinner meal, light housework [define!], grocery shopping, errands, etc. so long as it is mutually understood and agreeable.)

For a children ages 5 and up, consider the following questions:

  • What are your feelings about outdoor play without direct supervision (i.e., the child is outside and the caregiver is in the house with a younger child)?
  • Are you comfortable reviewing and assisting with homework?
  • Are you willing to supervise friends of our child who are invited to our home while you are in charge?
  • When children are in school, how many extra-curricular activities per week do you think is appropriate for them? What kinds of activities would you suggest for different age groups?
  • During the hours my children are in school, what do you consider your role and responsibilities to be? (Be prepared to define YOUR expectations of her role and responsibilities. It is reasonable to request other domestic duties such as laundry, prepping the dinner meal, light housework [define!], grocery shopping, errands, etc. so long as it is mutually understood and agreeable.)

Final Question

  • Why are you interested in this job? (Asked again at the end. Because now the nanny knows the job and family and if she is still interested, she can really make her best case at this point.)

Red Flags - Potential Problems

  • Applicant unable or unwilling to give phone numbers for work references.
  • Too many unexplainable gaps in work history.
  • Applicant is unable to produce a valid driver's license or other government issued proof of identity.
  • Applicant does not have a social security number or is ineligible to work in the United States.
  • Applicant refuses to sign a release for a criminal background check.
  • Applicant has a lot of short-term jobs.
  • Applicant doesn't interact very well with your child or shows little interest in the child.
  • Applicant requests a very low pay and/or is willing to take less pay than her previous position.
  • Poor driving record, when driving is a job requirement.
  • Parents, do you have any feedback on this list of suggested interview questions? Please let us know - support@4nannies.com

    A special thank you to the NannyNetwork.com Bulletin Board contributors who have improved this list immeasurably.